Reverse culture shock: FOP

It’s now been a year since I moved back to Amerrrca from my other Motherland. To celebrate that wonderful wonderful day, I shall share with yall a dramatized flashback to my first 10 minutes Fresh Off the Plane.

reverse culture shock, fresh off the plane. china to america


Happy 77th, Golden Gate Bridge

happy birthday golden gate bridge

In retrospect, I’m really glad that I chose to direct all my creepy photo-collecting, drawing, stalking, and obsessing at an inanimate object, and not a classmate. Well, the latter still happened… but let’s not digress.

To anyone who tried to tell me otherwise, admiration of an inanimate object is not completely futile. This bridge gave me goals and taught me to draw! (And maybe lost me some friends? Eh, totally worth it.)

So, let’s make fun of examine some of my Golden Gate Bridge fanart of over 10 years ago!

a compilation of golden gate bridge drawings

Happy Birthday, dear bridge! The Golden Gate Bridge turns 77 in a few days. If you’re out there in San Francisco, pay it a visit for me.

More words that lacked English counterparts in my childhood

My sister thought of a couple more and drew some nice pictures to go with them! She says:

chinese handwriting credit goes to mom, who saw my awful attempts and redid all of them.

min pun plastic mini wash tub

bat faan hok, rice scooper

Thanks for contributing, Mimi & Mom!

I’ve also thought of one more!

I know the bloggy trend nowadays is to give a trigger warning for corporeal punishment, even if it’s just by feather duster and/or knuckle, but I’m with Russell Peters on this topic.

joy joy, a little abc-style corporeal punishment with the knuckle

Ahh, the ol’ knuckle to the head. The hands of my father could contort into a talon of justice! I have tried but it doesn’t look as menacing. I think it’s a perspective issue. Once I think it’s all in position, I turn my hand in to check, but then it just look like I’m tightly gripping a subway pole. Not very menacing.

If you don’t get this is all about, I’m trying to figure out which Chinese word it actually is. Below is my very credible analysis.

trying to figure out which joy or jyutping "zoi" best represents "knuckle to head"

Yeah, I have no idea. I start to wonder if my parents made it up… any other Cantonese kids gotten the joy joy? Any idea what word it is? Leave me a comment!

Meanwhile, I’ve just looked up “talon of justice” to see if I made it up, but apparently World of Warcraft beat me to it. It’s a stun spell! Weirdly appropriate, I must say. Not so for the English word of the same pronunciation…

joy to the world, abc interpretation

Household items whose English names were unknown to me for a while

step stools are called bing bongs in my family

My elementary school encouraged my parents to speak English at home, so that we wouldn’t be totally lost when we went to school. (That was bad advice – we could have grown up bilingual! But I’ll save that rant for another day.) So my parents spoke a little less Chinese and a bit more English to us, and eventually we were responding exclusively in English. But a few English words eluded me for a long time, and even today, their Chinese names come to mind before their English counterparts.

a feather duster is a tool for asian parents to beat children

If you don’t know about this, ask your ABC friends. I was surprised to learn that it wasn’t just our family. Yay, we can all bond over the absurd feeling of running with your hands over your butt! I never processed that those three characters are basically “chicken fur sweep” because it just meant “time to get an ass whoopin'”. I don’t know when I even learned that the thing was actually for dusting stuff off. Ours was so dusty living atop Mommy’s Fridge that it probably wouldn’t have actually cleaned anything.

gu hon gwaat / miser scrape is such a better name than rubber spatula

This one followed me into adult life. In fact, I’m still not satisfied that it’s just referred to as a generic ol’ spatula. That’s so boring and unspecific!! It’s a scraping-device-for-frugal-misers.